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RE: Key results and recommendations from Face to Face

From: Jason White <jasonw@ariel.its.unimelb.edu.au>
Date: Fri, 25 Mar 2005 11:32:43 +1100
Message-ID: <16963.23595.306143.114951@jdc.local>
To: "John M Slatin" <john_slatin@austin.utexas.edu>
Cc: "Al Gilman" <Alfred.S.Gilman@IEEE.org>, <w3c-wai-gl@w3.org>

John M Slatin writes:
 > Thanks, Al.  This is a beautiful exposition and it helps me very much.
 > There is nothing in WCAG 2.0 as vague as "structure your content." We
 > are striving for success criteria that are written as testable
 > assertions about content in its encoded form, and to provide sufficient
 > and testable techniques for encoding that content.

True, but here's the issue. Gregg quite ingeniously suggested
tightening the success criteria to demand that structure, text
equivalents, lexicographical information and other aspects of the
content required by the guidelines should be encoded in a "standard
and supported manner". The idea was that what "standard and supported"
meant could be construed as an empirical question to which the
techniques documents would provide answers for each format or
language. "Standard and supported" would then be defined in terms of
conformance to technical specifications, and the adoption of practices
supported "in the field" (Gregg's words, if I recall correctly),
either by implementations or as suggested by documents such as WCAG

Another way of interpreting the proposal, however, would be to argue
that it effectively makes the techniques normative: where there is no
established practice or implementation experience that settles what
"standard and supported" amounts to, the techniques would become de
facto authoritative. This could be seen as crossing the demarcational
line between informative and normative by effectively requiring the
techniques documents to be followed in order to satisfy the
"standard and supported" requirement.

The proposal thus transforms the problem to that of providing
sufficiently applicable and testable criteria for determining whether
a particular technique for applying a success criterion using a given
technology is "standard and supported"; and I think the question is
still open whether this can be made workable.
Received on Friday, 25 March 2005 00:33:44 UTC

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